Exciting News! A Personal Goal Met.

This past month has been alternately slow and fast. It has come with a huge learning curve, though.

April has seen me work on three smaller paintings. The first was a squirrel on a branch with a lot of ivy. This presented a few new challenges namely getting depth into foliage. The tree trunk was redone a few times. The squirrel was fun. His tail is like a figure 8. Squirrels and I have a love/hate relationship. I love their antics but they and the chipmunks eat all the birdseed. The rabbits eat my new greens. I love living outside the city but there are times!!!

Squirrel Picture.jpg

I live with four cats. The smallest of the three is a closeup of a cat’s face. The reference came from unsplash. I love painting eyes. This one was no exception. I spent more time on that one eye than the whole rest of the painting. Chloe has a wonderful cat face. I am very happy with her.

cat painting, Acrylic .jpg

The next was a fox. She is called Patience because I needed it for her. I had a dilemma with getting the right fox orange. After failing at it one afternoon, hoping that my ochres, siennas and buffs would be enough, I knew that I had to mix the colour. It was fun to get back to basics, using yellow, red and blue to make the perfect colours for her. I am thinking that those who do colour swatches have the right of it. It would have been a lot easier for me. Well, I sure liked the mixing and the testing but still, the beginning angst would have been prevented. Once I got those colours mixed, she came alive. The final touch of the whiskers was the best feeling.

Fox Patience.jpg

In the midst of Patience, my rake brush died. The ferrule separated from the wood. I couldn’t crimp it back on. Instead of buying another brush, I made one. This decision was made easier when I realized that I had to order one and wait. My art store doesn’t carry them in stock. I took an old stiff brush and, using sharp scissors, started cutting out hairs. You can’t really make mistakes doing this unless you are aggressive with removing the hairs. Taking out a bit at a time and testing it, made a “perfect for Susan” rake brush. The ones you buy are uniform as they are done by a machine. Hand-made means more irregularity, which is great for a rake brush.

What is a rake brush? It is a brush that has irregular hairs that can be used for hair, grass and coniferous trees. Instead of using a small brush, such as a 20/0, for fine hair details, this brush gives you more details with one swipe of the brush. I use it for fur. All of the animal fur that is soft is done using this brush. Here is a picture of mine as well as the testing paper:


I discovered a “new to me” colour this month. It is called Bronze Yellow from Liquitex. I was watching a course by the very talented Renee Mueller called Ladies of Literature. It is a standalone but also part of Ivy Newport’s monthly Studioworks Academy. https://studioworks.ivynewport.com/welcome/ I love being part of Studioworks though I have a hard time keeping up!! Renee was using this colour mixed with green gold for her backgrounds. The colour is so delicious. It will be perfect for my animals. They have changed the bottle, too. The soft body paints now have an adjustable applicator built into the lid. Here is a swatch of it and a picture of the new bottle top:

You know the adage, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no? It is so true. Last month saw me putting myself out there with the website. (Thank you all for subscribing. It means so much.) That was one goal met. The next goal on the list was to get my art into an art gallery. Big lofty goal for sure but why not? It was the next logical step. I have been taking classes from the Gift of Art, a local art gallery.

https://agiftof-art.com While there, I asked the manager about having my art in the gallery. She suggested that I send her an email with a few pieces and she would see. It took me another three weeks to gather up my courage to send her that email.

The answer back was for me to start at the art show that they have in town every July. I was slightly disappointed but when a door opens, you don’t shut it quickly unless it’s not your door and this was definitely my door. I went in, paid my entrance fee, and started thinking about display. For those who know me from last year, I was in an outdoor art show. I was one of the few that sold. The venue wasn’t advertised well. It was cold and rainy and we huddled together swapping stories and art talk. That was the best part. This one is inside (thank goodness). I attend this event every year. It is well attended and well advertised.

Two weeks later, I got an email from the manager asking me to come in 10:30am the next day with two of my paintings so that she could see them in person. I took three. She took all three. I needed to get art labels on the back. Oh goodness, what are art labels? I sure wasn’t going to ask her! I came home and googled it. I made up my own, printed them off and adhered them on the back.

That following Monday, that goal was met. Have my art in an art gallery. 

This left me in a bit of a quandary. What was the next goal?

I have been and am still ruminating about it. This last one was so big, what would be the next? I have wanted to do video tutorials. I have most of the equipment purchased. I don’t know how to use it yet. I suppose that is the next goal.

My dilemma with all this is that it takes away from the painting. Online teachers will tell you that editing videos is time-consuming and often thankless because unless you do it, you have no clue. The viewer sees a seamless (or one hopes) offering that showcases your talent and teaches others. I will often forget what an object is called or what colour is what or what the brush that I am using is called.

However, it is the next logical step. I am logical to a point and then my Piscean nature often derails it.

Of course, this leaves the whole realm of possibility wide open. What will I do for a video? The Gift of Art is interested in me teaching there, too. I am so nervous about it all. My art is time-consuming. I will often work over 25 hours on a single painting. Online means four to five separate videos with each running 35 – 40 minutes with much editing done. In person doesn’t have editing. I suppose it means a four to five week course to finish one painting or I come up with something less involved while still remaining true to what my muse wants me to paint. Another goal…….

Is there something that you want to me to show you how to do? Paint eyes, paint fur, how to transfer images, beaks, feet. Let me know!!

Enjoy May. I am craving sun and warmth. Mr. Winter isn’t letting go in my part of the world. I want flowers and the smell of new mown grass.

Art on!


Susan Boles